Monday, February 29, 2016

Roderick Mackay & Catherine Fraser

RODERICK HUGH MACKAY was born 8th July 1883 at Droman, Eddrachillis, son of John Mackay and Barbara Macleod. Leaving Glasgow on 10th April 1909 on board the 'Hesperance' of the Allan Line, he had $50 on arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 18th April.  Ticket #1202 listed him as a farm labourer with final destination of Halifax.  As he was British, he was a preferred immigrant. The story told by him, was that he was anticipating a job on a fishing boat in Halifax.  However, during the crossing, the fishing boat sank, and with it his hope of a job.  Once in Halifax, he was offered a train ticket to Fort William by the Salvation Army with promise of a job in the bush camps.  He and his four fellow travellers, accepted the offer.  Only he remained in Canada.  The others eventually returned to Scotland.  In the census of 1911 he was working for the Grand Trunk Elevator in Fort William, Ontario. 

In January 1919, he returned to Scotland to marry Catherine Fraser, whom he had not seen for 10 years. They sailed from Liverpool on Aug 8, 1919 heading to Montreal on the Megantic.  He is listed as a returning Canadian.  The went back to Fort William where they spent the rest of their lives.  He was a millwright for Paterson Grain Elevators in Fort William (now called Thunder Bay).

Roderick died 16 Dec 1972. He is buried in Mountain View cemetery beside his wife, Catherine. His son is buried in Stanley cemetery, near Thunder Bay, as is one of his grandsons.  His daughter is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, as is one of his great-grandchildren.

CATHERINE FRASER was born 17th December 1885 at Kinlochbervie, Eddrachillis, daughter of Robert Fraser and Dolina Graham. Catherine sailed with her husband, Roderick  MacKay, aboard the S.S. Megantic (White Star Line) from Liverpool on Aug 8, 1919 arriving in Quebec on Aug 15, 1919 at 10:30 p.m. and landing in Montreal on the 16th of August 1919 at 12 a.m.   The ship carried a total of 978 passengers.

Family history reports that Catherine worked at Sandringham for the royal couple as a pastry chef.  The story is that on leaving, she received a gold sovereign and a commemorative cup and saucer. By 1919, she was working as a nurse in Aldershot and she continued nursing when she immigrated to Canada.  In 1919 she was married to Roderick MacKay  in Anderston Parish Church, Glasgow.  They went back to Kinlochbervie for a visit before leaving for Canada according to Catherine’s sister-in-law who was a youngster in school under the tutelage of Catherine’s sister, Miss Elizabeth Fraser.  This would be Catherine’s last visit to her home.

In Canada, she worked as a nurse and as a sideline, she made and decorated wedding cakes. She suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in 1960 which left her without a memory of recent events or people.  She spent her last days at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in what would now be the geriatric ward.  Catherine died 30 May 1961. Buried in Mountview Cemetery, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada.

Information from Beth Stewart, Ontario, Canada